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Album Review

Jessica Williams is such an impressive pianist that Philip Barker originally started the Jazz Focus label primarily to record her. This solo outing (the debut of the label) is one of Williams' finest. She digs into a wide variety of material, ranging from a traditional "Japanese Folk Song" and "The Creator Has a Master Plan" to compositions by Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Randy Weston, and Duke Ellington ("Mood Indigo"). Having mastered the musical vocabulary of Monk, Williams is able to quote from Monk at will but she uses his language to humorous effect (although respectfully), rather than allowing it to dominate her own individual style. "Lulu's Back in Town" and "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" are among the high points of this very stimulating (and often witty) outing. Highly recommended.


Born: 17 March 1948 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Due to her being based in northern California, Jessica Williams is a bit underrated, but (on evidence of her sets for Jazz Focus and Hep) she is one of the top jazz pianists of today. Williams is a powerful virtuoso whose complete control of the keyboard, wit, solid sense of swing, and the influence of Thelonious Monk have combined to make her a particularly notable player. She started taking piano lessons when she was four and was gigging as a teenager. Williams took extensive classical lessons...
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Arrival, Jessica Williams
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